Aside from college football, one of the things I really look forward to in the fall is the fresh-hop beers that come around. For the uninitiated, fresh-hop beers are those made with, er, fresh hops instead of pelletized hops. Hops are harvested in the fall and the fresh-hop beers are made soon after harvest time. The beers tend to be extra flavorful and delicious.
Thanks to Sierra Nevada, we don’t have to wait for fall to have a fresh-hop beer. Sierra Nevada recently introduced its Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale, which uses fresh hops from New Zealand, where hops are harvested in the spring instead of the fall because the seasons run opposited down there. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale can be found in bottles at BevMo and other good bottle shops, and on tap at various bars around San Diego. I guess it was introduced in May but only recently made it to San Diego.
According to the label on the bottles, Sierra Nevada made arrangements to get the hops from New Zealand and begin brewing with them at Sierra Nevada’s brewery in Chico within a week after harvest time. It was worth the effort. The Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale has the characteristics of a good fresh-hop ale, and is a nice treat.
Here’s some more info, from the Sierra Nevada Web site:
|alcohol content 6.7% by volume||yeast Ale Yeast|
|beginning gravity 14.7 Plato||bittering hops Pacific Halertau|
|ending gravity 3.9 Plato||finishing hops New Zealand Motueka & New Zealand Southern Cross|
|bitterness units 66||malts Pale & Caramel|